|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Bigelow Mountain - Avery Peak, Bigelow Mountain - West Peak, ME|
||Stratton Brook Pond Road, Fire Warden’s Trail, Appalachian Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Tuesday, January 28, 2020|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Stratton Brook Pond Rd is closed to vehicles past the houses. It is open to snowmobiles. I parked two tires deep into the snow bank made by the snow plow just past the houses on Stratton Brook Pond Rd without blocking driveways or access for snowmobiles. I needed 4 wheel drive to traverse the 0.2 miles from ME 27 on Stratton Brook Pond Rd to my make shift parking spot. It is pretty poorly plowed (but it is plowed) as only 2 of 6 houses on this road are full time residences. Don’t park in the snow plow turnaround. You are subject to being towed. |
||Snow - Unpacked Powder |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Water crossings are open. One is nicely bridged with hand cut logs. The others are simple to hop over or rock hop through without getting feet wet. These are shallow crossings normally anyway. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Approximately 4 blowdowns on Fire Warden’s. Only one pine tree forces you off trail a foot or so. The rest are step overs. Blue blazes on Fire Warden’s are frequent and fresh up to Moose Falls Campsite. Then they become sparse and very faded. The AT is blazed in white but the trees up there are thin making the markings harder to see. |
||Good trails for winter hiking dogs. The final mile of Fire Warden’s is very steep but should be manageable for four legged types. |
|Lost and Found:
||Heading down the road I contemplated how much trail breaking lay ahead. Boy was I elated to discover a fresh set of snowshoe prints on the trail! Met a nice hiker up on Avery Peak who walked from Stratton Hut to the Fire Warden’s, was ascending both Avery and West peaks, then moving on down the AT to Horn’s Pond Trail. You go dude! Man! That’s impressive. And he was breaking trail the whole way!! Thank you!|
The old tote road that serves as the start of Fire Warden’s was firm. Not really any trail breaking. After this I noticed that there is not a monorail established. There really looks to be very little winter foot traffic so far (but lower snow levels this winter may skew this viewpoint). This is surprising given the low levels of snow. All of the blue blazes on Fire Warden’s and the white blazes on the AT were visible above the snow pack. Even the junction signs and summit signs are far above the snowpack. Rime prevents reading the signs, but at least you can still tell it’s a sign.
Even with our two sets of snowshoes, there is still more trail to break out. Our feet broke 4-5 inches of new snow. For microspike worshippers: no spikes on this trail. Snowshoes are a necessity to navigate the ‘Bigs. On the super steep sections during the last mile of Fire Warden’s I was taking one step, then sliding back three. It was an exhausting time, even with a set of snowshoe tracks in front of me. I ended up just crawling up the most steep sections to keep from sliding backwards.
It was a nice day to be at 4000 feet in Maine. No views but it wasn’t too cold and winds were light. I’ll take it!
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.